Federal health official touts health insurance exchange concept

Aug 9, 2012

A federal health official has high hopes that a health insurance exchange will help people get affordable health care insurance, even in Wyoming.  An exchange is an on-line marketplace where people can compare policies and costs. 

Mike Fierberg with the U-S Department of Health’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services notes that many worried that a similar effort, known as the Medicare Part D prescription drug program would suffer from a lack of competition.  He says that certainly has not been the case.

“There are plenty of choices.  Some people think there are too many choices.  And the competition for people’s part D drug business has been such that the program has actually cost far less than the Congressional budget office had predicted when it was passed into law. ”

Fierberg added that the competition that an exchange will provide should help people purchase better insurance and affordable health insurance.

“The fact is that having these insurance companies provide their information in a transparent way, where people can pick and choose and compare plans side by side, has proven to be very effective. ”

Wyoming has to decide whether to have its own exchange or use one run by the federal government  and Governor Matt Mead is has asked federal officials to explain the differences in cost and access.  Fierberg says Health Care officials are currently gathering data to answer that question.